the World's Most Popular Bitcoin Website and Wallet is the world's most popular bitcoin site and online wallet, with over 3 million visitors last month alone.

AccessTimeIconDec 20, 2013 at 7:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

CoinDesk spoke to Nicolas and Ben of about it being the #1 bitcoin site, how it will remain so into the future, why its users trust it so much and how online wallets need to be easy to use as well as secure.

The team has been busy. The site grew by over 50% last month, with over 118 million page views and over 3 million unique visitors in November 2013. The number of registered bitcoin wallets jumped from 500,000 at the start of the month to 800,000 at the end and is now on its way to 1 million. These 'My Wallet' users engage in about 24,000 transactions daily, sending about 150,000 BTC in total.

That's quite a change from January 2013, when the site boasted "over 110,000 users." Even in August, daily transactions were around 100,000 BTC (worth $12m at the time). Due to the way Blockchain's encryption works, it is impossible to know the total number of bitcoins stored there.

Services has grown to be not only the #1 most visited bitcoin-related site, but arguably also the most compelling and most-often quoted. If the block chain itself is bitcoin's raw narrative told in some incomprehensible language, then is its interpreter.

The clean, bare-bones design appeals to statistics geeks and bitcoin newcomers alike, with a simple search box to recover information on transaction IDs, bitcoin addresses, or IP addresses. There's a page of various developer APIs providing access to every kind of useful data on the bitcoin economy with a simple message: "Services provided by are free of charge. Please do not abuse them."


The My Wallet service has grown to such proportions that it will soon be spun off to a separate property, The team plans to offer a raft of new payment services to wallet users upon logging in, such as the ability to acquire bitcoins from popular exchanges or spending them for gift cards with Gyft. They also hope to add options like bill-paying and other shopping opportunities.

The basic block chain explorer "Always has been, always will be a free service" to support research, media and institutional investors.

Looking to the future did all this despite its team being (for the moment) also quite bare-bones. In fact, until the spring of 2013 Blockchain was just one person: software developer Ben Reeves. But then bitcoin started heading to the moon and Blockchain had to grow to handle all its users, of both the data and the bitcoin wallet service.

There are currently five people on the Blockchain team, spread around the world: two in Yorkshire, UK; two in New Hampshire, USA; and one in Japan. Even then, it's rare to catch every member in their home country at a given time and the five-strong team is no longer enough.'s staff members are based in the UK, America and Japan.'s staff members are based in the UK, America and Japan.

"We're growing and hiring a world class team to help manage our development, infrastructure, and user base. A careers page will be going up on the site any day now," said Nicolas Cary, Blockchain's second employee.

The team agrees mass adoption and mobile access are both essential to bitcoin's success. Blockchain is currently the only native mobile wallet app available on all major platforms. Cary said:

"We will absolutely be investing in mobile... We want everyone everywhere to be able to access this; it'll be a huge benefit to bitcoin everywhere.

"We're ready to bring on the next generation of users. This is going to be disruptive tech for remittances, etc. I want the doors to be open to people experimenting, We will spend all our resources and every waking moment making (Blockchain) the most advanced and usable option."

The company also pays and transacts entirely in bitcoin.

"We are a 100% fiat-less company; maybe the first in the world. We have ZERO endpoints into the 'real-world' economy, and the few remaining services we pay for personally we're converting one at a time," Cary said.

Online wallet security

As a wallet service that exists online, Blockchain is extremely conscious of security issues and the bad press online wallets have received due to lax security, bad code, or corrupt operators.

Cary points to an article recently published on a major technology news blog that warned people away from all online services, with a hint of irritation:

"I thought it was an irresponsible article. It makes me mad to see stories about online wallets being a bad idea. Cold storage is great, but if you want to use bitcoin every day then you need some sort of portable storage that's easy to access."

He's also annoyed that Blockchain tends to get referenced somewhere in any story about an online wallet being compromised, though this probably comes with the territory of being the most well-known.

Blockchain suffered probably its only significant breach in August 2013 when 50 BTC was stolen from some addresses within wallets. The issue was caused by insecurities either in JavaScript's random number generator or the Android OS itself. Blockchain refunded all lost funds to users.


Customers also lost funds due to insecure passwords, not using two-factor authentication, or simply by misplacing their access credentials. Earlier in the spring, Ben Reeves realized he couldn't handle the sheer number of support tickets by himself, so decided to expand the team, and started building the legal framework to turn his hobby into a serious company.

"We have a responsibility to defend the technology [of online wallets]," said Cary.

Blockchain's wallet service is set up in a way that users shouldn't need to be concerned about security infrastructure on the server side. All the important encryption related to the security of users' bitcoins happens on the client side, in the browser or on a mobile device.

It stores an encrypted backup of user wallets on Blockchain's servers so they may be accessed from various places and devices, but do not store user passwords anywhere. The relevant JavaScript code is downloaded from Blockchain's servers every time a user logs in.

Cary said that although client side encryption was important and provided a strong buffer against any server side security issues, the company also takes its server security very seriously. Blockchain is hosted on a dedicated privately owned hardware and is protected by hardware based intrusion protection and packet inspection. Wallets are encrypted with a master key and backed up to Amazon S3 with each update.

Cary said:

"Maybe 'web-assisted' wallet is a better description than 'web-based' wallet. Unlike traditional web wallets Blockchain users retain exclusive control of their coins and private keys, and if used correctly should require very little trust in our service."

Blockchain also has "several monitoring systems in place both internally and externally" to ensure code is being served as expected, and the developers are confident that a security breach such as a modified server occurred, it would be caught quickly.

Such a risk did not exist for users of the Blockchain apps for Android and iOS, the Mac app or the browser extensions, and Cary recommended these as the most secure ways to log in.

Sticking to principles

Blockchain's live transaction stream is hypnotic, and watching a whole economy's every interaction stream live provides an understanding of bitcoin's elegance and power. Behind those numbers and confirmations there's shopping, trading, gambling wins and losses, grievous user mistakes and crime.

And it all flows in full, undiscriminating public view like no other economy before it.

Most transactions are in the region of 0.1 BTC, 0.01 BTC. Then there's 4.99 BTC and suddenly, a 100.4 BTC transaction appears. They both slip out of view amongst the rest.'s interface for riding the stream is as elegant as bitcoin's block chain itself, and its fascination with simple transaction data was one of the primary motivations for setting up the site in the first place. shows a list of the latest bitcoin transactions shows a list of the latest bitcoin transactions

The purpose and politics of bitcoin are as important to the current Blockchain team as the integrity of their code. Ben Reeves himself comes from a computer science background, not finance, and the team tries to "live and breathe the business" in their borderless, perpetually moving lifestyles.

"At this time we have no desire to be an exchange whatsoever," said Cary, adding:

"It's not our job to source coins to anybody. And we're not trying to monetize the crap out of all this. We're just a team of people who intrinsically support bitcoin."

"The real stories are happening on the core protocol and the investments being made there. It's the less glamorous side but it's the important one."

"When we joined together and discussed how we all came to bitcoin, what our core values were. We said we're going to build something that makes a better world through better money."

"Success for us is the adoption of bitcoin. Does it have pecuniary rewards for us? Of course. But we're not interested in swimming in a pool of bitcoins like Scrooge McDuck. We're interested in the disruption, the community, that's what makes it fun," he concluded.

Chain image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.